A user going by the forum handle Envy has indicated his intent to leave the Shroud of the Avatar Forum due to moderation. We have all either experienced the poor moderation either by being on the wrong side of it or by observation, and if you claim you haven’t actually noticed it go to TED and listen to the talk on Wilful Blindness.
Users exiting the Shroud of the Avatar Forum is not news because many do due to it’s policies and lack of protection against hostile party liners. High level backers leaving SotA Forum isn’t news either really. But from my own opinion, when a high level backer and owner of a whopping seven Player Owned Town whale trolls someone(seemingly forces Devs return $5 paywall due to this also), gets moderated, indicates he is leaving, then an executive Portalarium offers him a relaxed rules subforum? Well that is news we can all believe in 😛
Let us begin. Firstly you should have a look at this backed up thread where Envy proceedes to troll the BMC:
Clearly something has taken place to allow Envy to be bold or aggravated enough to start trolling BMC in their own threads, with apparent alternate accounts to boot. One must wonder how this conflict started. Could Whale Envy have met his match elsewhere in Whale Duke Cooper, leader of the BMC? Hmm, it would seem so but there is more evidence to consider here.
Some time after that post was cleaned up, within 16hrs at least I would say, Envy posted to the Shroud of the Avatar Forum his “Bye Bye” thread. Don’t bother reading it on the SotA forum, it has been moderated and cleaned up, read it here:
I will break some of that thread down for you now because I’m sure it will be a little bit of a case where TL;DR is a major factor for all you cranked up kids out there. The Bye Bye thread is an important one, so slap yourselves in the mouf and pay attention.
Initially Katrina Berserkers called Envy for leaving the forum for the same reason I suggest, trolling BMC and getting slapped for it. However Envy did have this to say about it…
“Actually that had nothing to do with anything… Nobody wants a toxic forum for obvious reasons, equally when a forum is moulded to an extreme in the opposite direction it becomes equally as damaging but for different reasons..unfortunately that is where this forum now current is and that is why I am walking away from it.”
Despite the fact Envy claims not to be bothered by his trolling being removed from BMC’s thread, I don’t think I could fault him with the rest of his sentiment there. I almost believe him, he is such a big Whale I doubt he’d ever get more than a slap on the hand for anything he ever did there. Shroud of the Avatar’s forum has been moulded to a very extreme and opposite view through Portalarium’s heavy handed management and moderator henchmen. I don’t know if Envy is thinking the same thing I am for the same reasons, but I’ll just assume he is.
Next up is where the real beef of this story hits our plates. Dallas, long term friend and employee of Richard Garriott and COO/Co-Founder of Portalarium himself drops in and posts to Envy’s cya wouldn’t wanna be ya thread. Here it is in full:
Envy, I, too, agree that you are an asset to the community. Although your communication style often pushes the limits of the SotA forum policies, that doesn’t alter the fact that your passion for the game, and tireless energy to share your learnings, are of great value to the SotA community in general (as demonstrated by my including your latest Grand Tour Quest video in the weekly Update of the Avatar).
I am one of the primary architects of our current forum policies. It has been my experience that the vast majority of people prefer a safe, healthy, nourishing environment to hang out in. A small minority of human beings have a thick skin and are not offended by aggressive/confrontational/”bear-poking” communication styles. These can often be (but not always) the players that prefer PvP over PvE.
That being said, we are attempting to create a game that satisfies some of the needs of the PvP’rs as well as the PvE’rs. I am intrigued by the notion of experimenting with the same design philosophy within the forums. Having a special sub-forum within the main forums that was more lightly moderated might satisfy the communication needs of those that feel they are being too tightly constrained. If we were to create such a sub-forum, would you be interested in being a volunteer moderator for that area, or have recommendations for others that might be willing to moderate that area (PM me with suggestions if so)? The majority of the SotA Dev Team has expressed discomfort in hanging out in such a lightly moderated forum so they would be officially reprieved from ever having to respond to any posts there. The participants in that sub-forum would have to be accepting of that.
In general, I’m wondering if having such a sub-forum would satisfy the needs of the few without compromising the needs of the majority. I haven’t yet convinced the rest of the management team, but it sounds like a worthy experiment to me.
What can we take away from Dallas’ post?
- Dallas believes that Envy is abrasive.
- Dallas thinks Envy is a community asset anyway and put his videos in Update of the Avatar in place of The Mad Hermit’s videos.
- Dallas is one of the people who developed the forum policies.
- Dallas thinks PvP players are the small minority calling for aggressive and confrontational communication styles.
- Dallas suggests a new sub-forum which is more lightly moderated.
- Dallas offers Envy a volunteer moderation position in the new forum.
- Dallas mentions that Portalarium Staff would not be allowed to post in this new Envy forum.
Ok, what, the, actual, frack? Did that just happen? People have been complaining about moderation for YEARSSSSSS. I can’t count the number of people who have left the forum, the GAME, due to the hypocrisy on those SotA forums. But Envy leaves the forum, he gets offered his very own sub-forum where he is a moderator? Just what the hell is going on at Portalarium?
Dallas went on to say in a reply shortly after that when someone said they hoped that Devs would post in there:
I’m afraid that it would be almost completely Dev free. We have a code of communication conduct at Portalarium that we do not allow members of the team to speak to each other in any way that can be construed as disrespectful. We find that communication styles that can be perceived as disrespectful are corrosive to long-term team cohesiveness and cooperation. Because of this fundamental Portalarium principle, we only attract team members that are in alignment with that principle.
Thus, if any member of the community wished to air their grievances in such a way as to promote Dev Team responses, they would have to do so in the more normally moderated areas of the forum. All this means is they would have to be less confrontational/aggressive/”bear-poking” (or “ass ripping” as Duke Ezekial so colorfully expressed) when airing their grievances.
Oh, that is very rich Dallas. Apparently there is a code of communication at Portalarium that says your employees can’t speak to each other in any way that would be disrespectful. That is great, and of course as it should be. But clearly that same rule doesn’t apply to Portalarium staff members when they are speaking to the community does it. Indeed, we know from past Dev comments that most of them aren’t even comfortable posting in the normal forum so why in hell would they go over to Envy’s “less moderated” sub-forum and risk their asses?
Is there something wrong with me? Could I be the only person in the world, because I am a toxic sledge throwing slimeball of a troll, to think that Envy is being damage controlled here by the COO because he is a serious investor in the game? Nope. I don’t think that I am and Ashlynn, who’s comments I’m usually impressed with, had the following question about the matter:
Hold on a moment. So a high-level backer with what might be described as an abrasive personality gets moderated for trolling some other guild so announces they are leaving. This warrants a personal response from the developers and discussion of the creation of a forum just for such behaviour?
– Ashlynn [Pax]
Ashlynn, your mind to my mind, my mind to your mind, our minds are one. Dallas simply responded, quickly, with that wasn’t the case and this was just the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” But… I don’t know about that. It has been years and innumerable backers have left due to this issue, it takes a Whale to make a wave like this? Such a wave he even gets offered a sub-forum and moderator position? This is unbelievable.
I’m going to try and put all of this aside and not insult Envy here… too much. Why would I insanely do that? Because as you read in that very post, in the SotA forum, on my blog, and in my forum, the moderation there at Shroud of the Avatar Forum is truly terrible. So terrible it too could have finally “bitten the hand” that collects the cash of the totally clueless people who put it and it’s policies together. Envy could actually be a victim of this forum and it’s policies in this case and it would not be a stretch of the imagination at all to understand how!